Newcastle East mixed multi Academy Trust (NEAT) has recently welcomed a new principal, Richard Carr, to Benfield School in Walker, who has returned to the area of the city where he has spent most of his teaching career.
Latterly headteacher at an academy in Sunderland since 2014, he spent ten years prior to this at Burnside Business and Enterprise College in Wallsend where he served in a range of senior leadership positions and before that, he spent seven years at Walker Technology College where he began his teaching career as a newly qualified teacher, teaching English.
He takes up his new post with a proven track record of school improvement, having successfully turned around his former Wearside school, which had fallen into difficulties and is now an ‘improving school’.
Speaking about his new role, he said: “ When the position at Benfield School became available I knew that I would like to lead the school at such an exciting period in its development. It has impressive facilities, very talented and experienced staff and its wonderful students have massive potential.
“Having worked and lived in the area previously for 20 years I feel I know the local community and this role enables me to contribute and make a difference to the lives of students and families. It is also a community of which I am very proud to be a member myself.
“Here at Benfield we are constantly reviewing our curriculum offer to ensure it is broad and balanced so that every student is able to follow a pathway that is the most appropriate for them. Our approach prioritises staff training with a highly effective continual professional development programme, enabling teaching staff to better support, stretch and develop students.
“My key priorities are to carry on the good work of my predecessor, Mr Neil Walker, in continuing to raise standards within all areas of the school. I fully believe that raising aspiration is the key to working together and being successful.”
Extending a warm welcome to Mr Carr, Debi Bailey, NEAT’s chief executive officer, added: “We are very pleased that Mr Carr decided to join us. Not only does he bring with him knowledge of teaching and working in this area, but he has extensive school improvement experience. We know he will be an asset to the students at Benfield School, to the community and to NEAT as we seek to develop and improve the life chances of all the students and children in our care.
“Benfield is a school which is now attracting a lot of interest from students in our local primary schools and over the next few years we expect to see large increases in the number of students wishing to join the school. This year alone, there was increased demand for places by Year 7 entrants which is an indication that the school is embarking on an exciting new phase of development.”
Mr Carr’s is one of eleven new appointments made at the school since the start of the academic year with new staff bringing expertise to reinforce teaching and learning as well as raise standards across a wide range of subject areas.
Benfield School became part of NEAT in July 2017. NEAT operates five academies in the east end of Newcastle – one secondary (Benfield School, which offers post -16 provision) and four primaries (Central Walker CE Primary School, Tyneview Primary School, Walkergate Community School and West Walker Primary School). All schools are rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. As a group of schools, NEAT offers an ‘all through’ education, from cradle to career, which provides a major benefit to both parents and pupils – a seamless transition from Year 6 to Year 7.